A new arts hub in Bellaghy, mid-Ulster, celebrates the life and legacy of the Nobel prize-winning poet, while its rural surroundings offer glimpses of the landscape that inspired him
There are two pubs and a couple of shops in Bellaghy, County Derry, a small village in the rural heart of mid-Ulster. To many people, it is an ordinary place, and yet something extraordinary has just happened. A former RUC police station has been restored and turned into a contemporary arts and literary centre, with fans flying in from all directions to celebrate the life of Bellaghy’s local son and national hero – the late Seamus Heaney. Given the full blessing of the Heaney family, the first thing that strikes you as you walk into Seamus Heaney HomePlace is a 4.5m-high, black-and-white photo of Heaney, along with the words from his most celebrated poem, Digging, which closes with:
“Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.”